There was the traffic on Staten Island, the confusion of understanding the parking, all of that. There was standing in the line for the ferry, the violinist playing well and heartily, the open seating once onboard. I read Chesterton.
Then we were in Manhattan and we began our day of walking. New York has so many things: so many buildings, so many shops, so many people, so many places and bits to notice. I understand it becomes enervating to live in a great city like that (bah, at moments, that’s all). I was dull at the end of the day and my face felt tired, but I was not enervated. In crowded cities you can’t treat the other people as people, but as sentient objects. Curious sentient objects, mind you, but merely sentient objects for the purposes of navigating the crowds. I can see how that can be enervating, but I find it stimulating so far.
We found: a Chinese place with strong bubble tea, if not outstanding pastries; a churro place; Chelsea market (a major find) with the tacos al pastor worth going all the way to New York City just to try; we found Porto Rico coffee where they sell some good Tanzania Peaberry light roast; we saw this elevated walkway with plants which is a great way to get the tourists out of the way; the curious elevator car-parking; we had horchata which was not medicinal and tortas that were not stellar; we saw the shafts of the twin towers and the fatuous tourists who in places meant to invoke invisible realities take pictures; we saw a great, forbidding windowless skyscraper, a tower of strength and no doubt a jail. Oh, it is a teeming place, and every time I go it is with greater resolve to stay there, to understand it better, to have all hours and all occasions to observe it, that remarkable city.
Right now I’m just trying to get a feel for the scale of the place when I go. I want to understand it better, know my way around, sense how it goes. I want, in short, to live there. It is a phenomenon almost beyond a city.